5 facts about Ukraine-Russia conflict you need to know

The West is becoming increasingly concerned about a possible war in Eastern Europe over Russia trying to invade Ukraine. But what is the conflict all about?

 |  4-minute read |   20-01-2022
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The world has not seen or heard of any full-blown war between countries in quite some time, though long-drawn conflicts are underway. However, there seems to be a very serious war-like conflict brewing in Eastern Europe.

The West – meaning the US, UK, NATO and their allies are worried about Russia invading Ukraine, a country in Eastern Europe, anytime now. The EU, UK and the US are closely monitoring a large-scale military build-up on the Russian side of the border with Ukraine.

The matter is so serious that nordic countries Finland, Denmark and Sweden have also strengthened their military presence in strategic areas, fearing Russian conflict leaking inside their countries.

Russia has denied accusations that it is planning to invade Ukraine.

WHAT IS THE UKRAINE-RUSSIA CONFLICT?

For the unversed, Ukraine was part of the former Soviet Union Russia, and became an independent country in 1991 after its collapse. It borders Russia on one side and EU on the other. In 2014, Russia invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine and continues to pump separatist activity in Eastern Ukraine. There are fears that Russia may do the same now.

Here are 5 points explaining the conflict in Eastern Europe:

1. US SAYS INVASION POSSIBLE ANYTIME NOW

US President Joe Biden in a press conference that lasted for nearly two hours on January 19 said Russian President Vladimir Putin may ‘move in’ on Ukraine.

"My guess is he will move in, he has to do something,” Biden responded when asked about a possible Russian invasion.

However, Biden also said that if Russia does decide to invade, then it will face repercussions like never before.

It’s not just Biden, but several US officials have warned over the past few weeks of a possible invasion by Russia.

2. BIDEN EXPOSES CRACKS IN ANTI-RUSSIA UNITY

During the January 19 press conference, Biden also said a problematic thing about the Ukraine-Russia conflict. His remark that the Western action against Russia will ‘depend on what it does’, did not sit well with many, not in the least with the opposition in the US.

"It's one thing if it's a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, et cetera,” he said during the presser.

Republicans hit out at Biden claiming that he was essentially giving Russia a green signal to chomp away at Ukraine, but to only keep it a small bite at a time.

The White House soon released a clarification on Biden’s statement.

Biden also revealed that not all NATO countries are on the same page and that there are differences on how one should act against Russia and under what circumstances. His comment invited criticism over having displayed crack in their unity to fight Russia.

3. RUSSIA MAY USE A FALSE-FLAG OPERATION TO INVADE

The US Pentagon has warned that Russia may use a false-flag operation to invade Ukraine.

"It has pre-positioned a group of operatives to conduct what we call a false-flag operation, an operation designed to look like an attack on them or Russian speaking people in Ukraine as an excuse to go in," Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby had said last week.

4. WHAT HAPPENED IN 2014?

In the 2014 buildup to Crimea’s annexation, over 1,00,000 Russian soldiers had trooped near Ukraine’s eastern border, a region where separatists were fighting the Ukraine government. Something similar is being observed now.

Russia is feared to use the narrative of ethnic Russians in Ukraine being targeted by extremist entities with US support to justify an invasion.  

5. WHAT DOES RUSSIA WANT?

Russia has a set of demands to not invade Ukraine. Kremlin doesn’t want Ukraine or any other former Soviet country in Eastern Europe to join NATO. It wants NATO to ban any former soviet country from joining the organisation.

Already, 14 former soviet nations are part of NATO. It would mean that they would have to exit the group. Essentially, Russia wants NATO to go back to its pre-1997 border. Agreeing to the demands would also mean that NATO allies will need to cease their military activity in Eastern Europe, including pulling out combat units from Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and not deploying missiles in any such countries. Moreover, it would mean that NATO countries will not be able to supply the US with nuclear weapons.

NATO says it can’t go back on its open-door policy. It has also been asking Ukraine to join the group.

Russia fears that the former soviet nations joining NATO would mean US influence on its doorsteps. Besides, Vladimir Putin has made it very clear that he is unhappy with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the current status quo, and calls Ukrainians and Russians as ‘one people’.

Already, the West is providing military support to Ukraine. US has promised a $200 million military aid, while it has already okayed weapons transfers from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. UK is also sending military aid to Ukraine. But Germany is still standing its ground on denying arms to Ukraine.

Writer

Amrutha Pagad Amrutha Pagad @amrutha_pagad

Amrutha loves writing on Humour, Politics, Environment and Gender. She is a Senior Sub editor at DailyO.

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